On Thursday night, 76ers legend Darryl Dawkins (with a little help from his friends at Captain Morgan) threw a “house party” to kick off summer 2011 in Philly. Needless to say if there is a party hosted by “Chocolate Thunder” and sponsored by Captain Morgan, the Philadunkia crew was going to be in attendance.
In addition to promoting Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea (a ready-to-pour mix of rum, vodka, whiskey, gin and triple-sec liqueur) the party also benefited two good causes — the Captain Morgan’s First Mate Fund and a charity of Dawkins choosing.
Most importantly, the party provided Philadunkia scribe Nabeel Ahmadieh a chance to spend a few minutes with the man from planet Lovetron who was more then willing to discuss the current state of the Sixers.
Full Darryl Dawkins interview after the jump.
Philadunkia: Tell us a little about this Captain Morgan Long Island Ice Tea campaign you are working on.
Dawkins: I’m teaming up with the Captain tonight here in Philadelphia. We’re going to have the Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea, and it’s five different spirits in a bottle and it’s already ready, you just pour it over ice. Perfect with everything I do, you know cookouts, parties and get togethers. And we invited everybody to drink in moderation. Please, don’t go overboard, we do not want to see you in the papers, we really don’t. Because it’s made by Captain Morgan, you’re guaranteed a good time. No one knows how to party like a captain, except me.
Philadunkia: Why did you chose Captain Morgan to partner up with?
Dawkins: Well, Captain Morgan is always giving back and as part of our 1 million pose shows you — that pose ‘you got a little captain in you’ — everybody in Philadelphia, who uploads a picture of them, themselves, doing the pose to the Captain Morgan facebook page, then Captain will donate a dollar to the Urban Affairs causation of Philadelphia. Which would do a lot of good down there.
They do a lot of good things, so if we get a million people — you’ve got to think big — and we’ll get a million dollars. So I like to do things that involves giving back. I mean it takes enough of us always taking, but we never give back to our neighborhoods and do anything good.
Philadunkia: What’d you think about the Sixers squad this past season?
Dawkins: I thought the Sixers were sort of unexpected. People said they weren’t gonna do nothing and they sort of overachieved. But Doug Collins is a good man, he got Elton Brand back to playing when everyone thought Elton was ready to roll over. I thought he did a good job.
They [Sixers] need to leave him alone and let him put his plan in to play, bring in the players he wants and make the trades and drafts he wants. Because too many times, well all the time, the people who do basketball are business people and look at it as an investment and they gotta make money.
You’ve gotta have basketball people doing basketball, because he’s [Collins] with them more than he’s with his wife and kids. He knows what’s gonna make that team go.
Philadelphia is starting to breathe again, the way it was when we was there. People are starting to get excited, and are jumping on the subway to get down there to see it. I thought they did a very, very good job this year. I was glad for Doug Collins, and actually glad for the Sixers. I don’t want to see any team I ever played for, or involved with, do bad and they did more than I thought they would do this year.
Philadunkia: Do you think realistically that Collins can take this team to the next level?
Dawkins: I do think that they first have to move some things around. But I’m sure the basketball people know that hey, we’re going to move a few things around and change some people here and there. Have this guy work on that outside shot a little more and they can get back in there.
Because if you look at the East. Tell me who’s really ripping up the East? Nobody. Boston’s not ripping up the East cause they’re an older team, they used to make you play half-court. Which they didn’t make Miami do in the playoffs. The West has been the stronger conference here lately.
We pick our teams on bumping and grinding and being physical. And the West is built to run.
Philadunkia: Obviously, you came into the League at an early age straight out of high school, some of the Sixers on this roster are still very young (Jrue, ET, etc.). What advice would you give them about adapting to the NBA?
Dawkins: Play, play, play all the time. Sometime you feel like ‘ahh, I’m tired, I don’t want to play today’. But play, even on your days off. You can get your proper amount of rest, but the only way you’ll get better is by playing and working on things you don’t do well.
Those guys are young man, they’ll be back. They got the necessary main ingredient, they got energy. And as long as they got energy and they’re willing to run, they’ll be able to find their jump shot and get their confidence. And I did like what I saw from them this year.
Their young players, they’re energetic and they seem to listen to the coach. That’s the right way to get there.
Philadunkia: What do you think is the biggest need for the Sixers is moving forward into the offseason?
Dawkins: In taking to them, everyone seems to asking ‘do we get rid of Iguodala? Do we get rid of Brand?’ No matter what you do though, you go into the draft and get the best player you can possibly get. Now, do you take him to keep him? Or, do you take him to make a trade for more players to get your team into contention. Because the best player, you might have a guy at that position that your more comfortable with.
You just have to do what’s gonna make your team better. By the end of the year, it wont be ‘oh, we could’ve taken him,’ it’ll be about how many games did we win and lose.
Just let Doug Collins do his thing. He knows basketball, he’s smart and he’ll make the right moves. If Doug Collins never got hurt, I would’ve put him right up in the class with Larry Bird because Doug could shoot, and play defense, could run, could dunk. Doug Collins was a bad white boy. I’m telling you now, he could get it done. But he had some injuries that didn’t allow him to go forward. He was bad, I’m telling you. Coming from Florida to here [Philadelphia], we didn’t have guys, white guys, that could play down there. He had quickness man, and he was tough.
Philadunkia: What are your thoughts on Andre Iguodala as a player? What do you think his trade value is and what can the Sixers get in return?
Dawkins: That’s a loaded question on both ends ‘cause some people love Iguodala. And then you have others that say ‘well, you know, we could do better’. I thin that he is a valuable player he was exceptional on defense. It’ll come down to if he’s happy here, do you feel like he’s giving us a maximum. And if he’s happy here and giving the maximum then you work around that. But if he’s not happy here, and you could get a lot for him, then business is business.
As George McGinnis told me when I got traded, he said ‘Why you sitting their mad?’
‘Because they traded me’
‘You get a check on the 1st and the 15th in every month, so shut up.’
So that’s the name of the game, as long as you get paid for something you enjoy doing when there’s millions of people who go to work and hate their jobs, there is nothing to complain about.
Philadunkia: Do you think Evan Turner can be an all-star at the NBA level?
Dawkins: You know what, I think they’re underestimating him. He’s a hard worker and this summer he’s gonna work his buns off, I believe he’s gonna work hard enough that when he gets in there he’ll make such a big difference that people are gonna say ‘Gee whiz, what’d you give that guy.’
Philadunkia: What about Jrue?
Dawkins: I think if you leave those two guys alone [Jrue and ET]. You could see them start to come together in the playoffs. Neither guy is trying to say I’m the man and I’m gonna take it over. It’ll come down to, and I’m going to make a big statement here, it’ll come down to like the [Terry] Porter and the Glide [Clyde Drexler] playing together, because they’re young now. If you keep them together, they’ll form that bond. Keep ‘em together, let them keep scrapping and they’ll say hey man ‘I got your back’. When one falls, the other one will pick him up, one falls, the other will pick him up. Before you know it, you got a backcourt that was supposedly so-so that’s now ripping it up.
Philadunkia: Do you like that the Sixers went back to the retro uniforms?
Dawkins: Yeah, you know it’s a good look. They look great to me. You want something that identifies a city. So when someone passes by they can say ‘yeah that’s the Philadelphia 76ers playing Cleveland’ tonight. It’s all about the jersey representing the city. But you know, I’m old and the jersey’s have that feel, and old people like old things.
Philadunkia: Do you have a favorite moment during your playing days as a 76er?
Dawkins: I gotta say, you get into the arena (The Spectrum) and there’s 17,776 people, all in there screaming ‘Dawkins, Dawkins, Dawkins’, that was a great moment in my life. But my favorite moment, was when I got my first paycheck from the Sixers (laughs). That was a real check, and I got to keep it real, that was a check man. That was my favorite moment and I’ve been loving Philadelphia ever since.
Philadunkia: Who do you think will win the NBA Finals?
Dawkins: Nobody likes the way Miami got together, but they’re together and they’re playing very good ball right now. And you have to remember in the playoffs it’s not the best team that wins it’s the team that is playing the best that wins, the hottest team. The Mavericks are playing the best team ball right now, they took a page out of the old Boston Celtics book. And it doesn’t matter who scores, they only gotta satisfy one star and that’s Nowitzki. And he’s been lighting them up.
You move over to Miami and your watching them, it’s not just me, I’m hearing this everywhere I go, but at certain points either Wade or LeBron needs to sit. Because, it’s not a knock on em, but both of em are the man. They want the ball in their hands and they both wanna make the play. The only way you get that corrected, is you say ‘come over here and take a breather with me. ‘ Then the other guy knows it’s his time to go to work. Then at the end of the game they’re both back in and they look like different guys. I think Jason Kidd gives them so much on offense, and being a veteran and with his leadership, he makes their team go. It’s a tough call but I’m leaning toward the Mavericks.